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Iglesias De Castro v. Castro

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

October 16, 2019

Maria Luisa Iglesias De Castro, Maria Irene Castro Iglesias, Maria de la Concepcion Castro Iglesias and Maria Luisa Castro Iglesias, Plaintiffs,
v.
Maria Regina Castro and Pedro Jose Caraballo, Defendants.

          ORDER

          ELIZABETH COWAN WRIGHT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This case is before the Court on Defendants' letter requesting permission to file a motion to reconsider paragraph 3 of the Court's October 10, 2019 Informal Dispute Resolution (“IDR”) Order. (Dkt. 51.) Paragraph 3 of the October 10 Order re-designated monthly account statements, records of electronic transfers and withdrawals, and cancelled checks produced by Defendants from Attorneys' Eyes Only (“AEO”) to Confidential, subject to certain additional restrictions on the disclosure of the re-designated documents to Plaintiffs. (Dkt. 50 ¶ 3.) Plaintiffs filed a response to Defendants' letter on October 14, 2019. (Dkt. 52.)

         Requests to file motions to reconsider are granted “only upon a showing of compelling circumstances.” D. Minn. L.R. 7.1(j). A motion to reconsider should not be employed “to relitigate old issues, ” but rather to “afford an opportunity for relief in extraordinary circumstances.” Dale & Selby Superette & Deli v. U.S. Dept. of Agric., 838 F.Supp. 1346, 1348 (D. Minn. 1993) (internal quotation marks omitted). Indeed, “‘[m]otions for reconsideration serve a limited function: to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.'” Munro v. Lucy Activewear, Inc., No. 016CV00079JRTKMM, 2018 WL 4094845, at *2 (D. Minn. Aug. 28, 2018 (quoting Hagerman v. Yukon Energy Corp., 839 F.2d 407, 414 (8th Cir. 1988)). Here, for the reasons stated below, Defendants have not made a showing of compelling circumstances.

         Plaintiffs in this case are a mother (“Maria Luisa”) and her three daughters. (Dkt. 1 ¶ 13.) Plaintiffs allege claims for civil theft, conversion, and unjust enrichment to recover monies allegedly stolen from them by family members. (Id. ¶¶ 64-80.) Plaintiffs claim that after Maria Luisa's husband died in 1991, his brother engaged in a secretive, multi-year scheme with Defendants to steal and misappropriate both Maria Luisa's share of profits from an ongoing partnership business and the money her husband left for Maria Luisa and her daughters. (Id. ¶ 37.) Defendants deny these allegations. (Dkt. 30.)

         In April 2019, the parties jointly requested resolution of a dispute involving Defendants' designation of their financial records as AEO through the Court's IDR process. (See Dkt. 37.) The Court held the IDR hearing on April 22, 2019, and on the same day ordered as follows:

1. Plaintiffs' request that the Court remove Defendants' blanket AEO designations of financial documents produced by Defendants and third-party bank records and require Defendants to seek Court approval in the future for use of the AEO designation is DENIED.
2. Defendants shall review the financial documents they intend to produce and shall identify for Plaintiffs, to the extent possible, those relating to the transactions identified in Plaintiffs' Complaint and Exs. A & B to the Complaint.
3. To the extent Defendants seek to designate the financial documents they intend to produce and the third-party bank records as AEO (rather than Confidential), Defendants shall review those documents to determine if they are in fact entitled to an AEO designation and shall designate them based on that review.
4. Plaintiffs may request that specific documents or categories of documents be re-designated Confidential rather than AEO, and Defendants shall work with Plaintiffs in good faith in determining if the documents can be re-designated to Confidential. If the parties are not able to reach agreement as to certain documents or categories of documents, Plaintiffs may seek relief from the Court.

(Dkt. 39.)

         During a follow-up hearing on June 19, 2019, the Court ordered Defendants to provide dates for the re-productions required by Paragraphs 2 and 3 and required Defendants to re-produce “each document as a complete document with the correct confidentiality designation on each page.” (Dkt. 41.)

         On September 30, 2019, the parties sent a joint request to the undersigned's chambers requesting an IDR hearing regarding a dispute over amendment of the Pretrial Scheduling Order, based in part on an apparently still-ongoing dispute over Defendants' AEO designations. The parties filed letters setting forth their respective positions as to amendment of the Pretrial Scheduling Order and the AEO designations on October 7, 2019. (Dkts. 46, 47.) Plaintiffs contended that about 9, 000 pages of documents were improperly designated as AEO and identified two categories of documents (monthly account statements and cancelled checks, including those written by or to Maria Luisa's deceased husband's brother) as examples supporting that contention. (Dkt. 46 at 3-4.) Defendants contended that Plaintiffs were again seeking “blanket re-designation of all financial documents” and that Plaintiffs' request was “essentially seeking a reconsideration of the Court's [April 22] Order” and required a formal motion for reconsideration. (Dkt. 47 at 4-5.)

         The Court held the IDR hearing on October 9, 2019. During the hearing, Defendants' counsel identified a receipt for breakfast cereal from the 1990s and a document showing how much was paid for a daughter's college apartment as examples of documents produced by Defendants that were currently designated as AEO. Defendants' counsel also stated that Defendants had used the AEO designation on documents that some would consider “mundane” because they had nothing to do with this lawsuit. Defendants did not provide the Court with any case where personal financial records of the type at issue here were designated AEO. Defendants did not provide any explanation why the categories of documents identified by Plaintiffs in their October 7 letter were entitled to an AEO designation. Instead, Defendants argued that this issue was controlled by the April 22 Order and that Plaintiffs should have sought reconsideration. During the October 9 IDR hearing, the Court found that Plaintiffs did not need to seek reconsideration of the April 22 Order because Defendants had not complied with the Court's directions in that Order, specifically the direction that: “To the extent Defendants seek to designate the financial documents they intend to produce and the third-party bank records as AEO (rather than Confidential), Defendants shall review those documents to determine if they are in fact entitled to an AEO designation and shall designate them based on that review.” (Dkt. 39 ¶ 3 (emphasis added).) The Court also noted that Defendants' own description of the documents during the hearing confirmed that they were not entitled to AEO protection. On October 10, 2019, the Court issued its Order granting in part Plaintiffs' motion to downward designate the financial documents to Confidential and setting several limitations on how the re-designated documents could be disclosed and used. (Dkt. 50 ¶ 3.)

         In their October 11 reconsideration request, Defendants state that the April 22 Order entitled them to designate bank statements, electronic transfer, withdrawal records, and cancelled checks, along with other documents, as AEO if there was a good faith basis for doing so. (Dkt. 51 at 1.) Defendants contend that they “have been operating under the understanding that bank account statements and other financial documents would be designated as AEO.” (Id. at 2.) Defendants also contend that they “never expected that the ability to designate financial documents and bank records as AEO as set forth ...


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